New F&B Design Trends for Hotels in 2018

By Ray Chung Director of Design, The Johnson Studio at Cooper Carry | February 04, 2018

With ever higher guest expectations and a healthy competition developing among hoteliers, hotel restaurants and bars need to stay ahead of trend. How a restaurant or bar looks is equally as important as the quality of the food and service.

It comes as no surprise that we are seeing more of our restaurateur friends inside hotels. In the coming year, expect to see more investment in hotel F&B overall, from the quality of the food to the design of the spaces and the creative repurposing of lobbies and rooftops.

An Investment in Design, by Design

Exciting, unique venues can feature prominently in marketing material and persuade travelers to choose one hotel over a long list that might otherwise all look the same. And as hotels tap into the value of bringing locals (non-guests) into their F&B venues, having the right look is critical. In the era of social media and photo sharing, it is hard to ignore the power of visual appeal.

Hotels are seeing the benefit of investing in highly customized design, especially in public areas like the lobby and F&B venues, where they can concentrate their efforts and still be able to reach all guests and non-guests alike. One aspect of customization has to do with making properties site-specific in some way. Increasingly, both branded and independent hotels look for ways to incorporate traditions that are specific to the city or even the neighborhood. Creating ties to the local community and its history into the design creates a sense of authenticity and fulfills the guest's desire to be somewhere, not just anywhere. And from the point of view of the locals, when this kind of integration is done well, it helps the hotel become a rooted part of the community.

In bars and restaurants, in particular, where people spend considerably more time, more attention is being paid to the details of the design. We are seeing a return to an expression of craft and richness, but not in the traditional ways. Instead of large slabs of marble, there will be carefully proportioned accents. Rather than ornately carved mouldings, precisely detailed joinery. It is a reaction to the bare wood, blackened steel aesthetic that we see everywhere these days from restaurants to workplaces. Going forward, expect to see more comfortable furniture upholstered in gem-toned velvets, exuberant wall coverings and possibly lacquered walls and surfaces.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.